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About DanTheBassMan

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  • About Me:
    Lost soul with a long pole.
  • Interests (Hobbies, favorite activities, etc.):
    1. Fishing
    2. Producing short films on fishing
    3. Thinking about fishing
  • What I do for a living:
    Fish when I can, busy making time for fishing the other couple hours of the day.

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    MIA ca. Last Night

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  1. Dan, I should've clarified that using the TM at night is not my main intention for it, especially in unfamiliar channels. At nighttime, unless I were absolutely confident in the conditions that could reasonably occur in the areas I would be going, given the wind and tide stage & amplitude, I would either pick a different route/location, and definitely omit the TM. I have been dragged into some uncomfortable rides thorough small standing waves (2-3') during the daytime, and that's before having my stability impaired by the trolling motor hanging off one side and the batteries raising my center of gravity. The TM + batteries will be reserved for areas with few/no such concentrated currents, such as tidal flats during the day (away from drop-offs), open water, and some calmer estuaries. As you mentioned, I do plan on using a paddle for the final approach on fish, and will be using an anchor or pole to hold in places where fish would move through with the tide. My incentive to install the TM is to help with fatigue on long days and in current during light hours. I have paddled over 15 miles over the course of a day several times, usually into the wind, and I am not keen on doing it again. If I need to run from point A to point B for 2 miles, just throw the switch, and I can be fresh with the rod when I get there. On the flats and open beaches, I can cruise while standing, increasing my fish-spotting range. It will also help for albies come fall, both for spotting by standing while moving and having the will and means to cover more water/pursue the fish. On the topic of mudders, I honestly would grab a pair today if I had any muddy areas in mind for this year that I couldn't access from the water. I've been stuck deep and lost shoes in the mud before, and it would suck a lot more at night on the incoming, but I just can't think of more than a few marks like that I plan on fishing this year. My main area of interest this season is the large estuarine system just north of where I am, and I've never been in that kind of mud up there. One day in the right place of the south side of the Cape might change my mind about that. It might even be this spring. Dan
  2. Mike, Here's a link to short list of all the fly lines with cores over 50lb breaking strength and grain weights over 500gr that I could find. Some are shooting heads, but most are integrated. It includes floating, intermediate, and sinking lines. I also included a small list of the high core strength running lines I could find. If that Google Drive link doesn't work for you, here's a link to a PDF download: High Core Strength Lines for TH.pdf Seems like the Rio Tropical GT is the only one that ticks all the boxes fairly well. Integrated, 550gr @ 36'. I wanted more options, so I've decided to go with a shooting head system and building my own heads, need be. I could integrate the head to the running line if I so wanted, but I rather like 1) The flexibility of a loop to loop connection allows as far as being able to switch out heads w/o needing to carry spare spools, and 2) The physical indication of the head at the rod tip at night. I know you have an indicator on your line and use experience to judge that, but I'll be starting off with this setup for now. I don't plan on retrieving the head into the guides if I can help it, so I'm not too worried about the loop getting stuck in the SL ceramics. I ordered a Monic GSP 0.038" running line the other day. I'm optimistic about the claims of super high strength, durability, and lack of stretch. It's the running line I currently have in mind for Mark II. Will report back on casting & handling by the end of the week, and durability by the end of the season. I've yet to have a running line last much longer than that. As for OH casting heads, I currently have three broad categories in mind: a floater, a slow sink, and a dredging line. For the floater, I think I'll weld a couple Skagit heads together and trim as necessarily until I get the length and weight I'm looking for, which is 650-750gr @ 35-38' for Mark II. If you could a lop off a few more feet strategically, you could definitely get 550-650gr @ 33-35'. For the slow sinker, I picked up an SA UST Short 650gr 36.4' sink 3/4. It doesn't have anywhere near the authority I was hoping for on my Pandion, but it might turn into a different animal on Mark II. SA also makes these UST Short floaters and intermediates: 525gr @ 33.8' and 590gr @ 35.0'. You could trim the 590gr head and get a touch over 550gr @ 33-34'. For the dredging line, I picked up some T-23 level T material by Airflo. 700gr @ 30' yields 23.333 gr/ft, state sink rate is 10 ips. This is kind of irrelevant given that you want floating/int lines, but I just threw it in for kicks. I think what we're looking for differs a little bit. I'm looking for slightly heavier, aggressive lines that can cast relatively smoothly (T-23 won't do this, but that's the price) and handle very large/tough-to-cast flies. Windy outfront conditions are still on my mind, but not quite the priority. I figure my setup should be able to handle them reasonably well, and still perform comfortably given my less aggressive style in calmer conditions. Hope that helps, Dan
  3. Dougie, Novel idea about the silencers. I prefer "Beaver Balls" on my recurve. I'd bring some down for Red, but he can probably just snatch a few from the lake in his backyard. He might need the whole beaver for his trebuchets, though. It really is like watching a medieval siege, when he goes out swinging. He just needs to be a bit more careful of the moats. I'll need a helmet for when he comes out to the Cape. I'm in for a beating. I've been looking at the mudders for a while, but I've been getting by with a kayak pretty well so far. I'm planning on bringing my kayak down to use both to safely gain access where would otherwise be unwise, as well as to my advantage on the flats, should conditions line up a day or two to allow for that. After I install the trolling motor and batteries, it'll weigh more than I do but draft only ~3" with the motor up, so skinny creeks won't be an issue. Once I'm in the deeper water, I just pop the motor in and should be able to cruise at 3-4 kt while standing. Should be fun. Dan
  4. When you give my Mark II a swing when it's done, I think your preferences will shift towards the "cannon" end of the spectrum. I have high hopes in mind as far as capabilities and versatility go with a little creative line butchering and a lot of practice. What's wrong with a canon? I think it'll come as close to an all-water stick as any out there for our local conditions, and perhaps waters far, far beyond. That being said, my Pandion casts itself the way it's lined, and it would do the job on about 40% of the days I fished last year. A treat to use when possible, but there are better answers to the question, "if I could only have one rod..." Hence, the build. Red'll be building the closest thing to a middle ground this winter/spring. I very much look forward to giving it a shot on the Cape. Final section of my handle's all glued up, and I'm planning on turning it tonight or tomorrow. The most demanding part of the build will be over. After that, I could finish it in 3 days if I so desired, but I'm planning on practicing wrapping/finishing w/ el cheapo guides & blanks until school break in mid-April. Hoping to make the maiden cast on April 22nd. 1.5 months---that's not soBest long of a wait, is it? Having embarked on this adventure, I now have a much better understanding of what Mike goes through just to produce one finished rod, but it's only a partial view. Forget the years of sourcing, R&D, experience in rod building, and extent to which he's gone to create the best tool for the job, period. The price of admission doesn't begin to reflect it appropriately. I think you'll like it. My first impression of it back in June left me a bit speechless. Dan
  5. @Oakman, Thanks for the kind words I've learned a lot from SOL and give back when I can. Also, the rod truly deserves the praise. The Dark Spey... I like it. Red, No worries, I could've been more clear on that myself. Bob developed the rods to meet his needs and high standards, and has undoubtedly had more rod-in-hand time with his sticks than we will ever know, so it's really his word that I'd look forward to. Philly, I'd also like to add that talking with Bob is great fun, and his conduct in taking care of customers is unparalleled in this industry. I don't expect any issues with either my UD 10 (knock on wood, heaven only knows how I've clocked that rod with flies) or the two new Terrapin 1012s that brightened up my week the other day, but I have confidence knowing that Bob stands by his products all the way. Dan
  6. Hi PhillyPhisher, I've been using the Tradewinds UD (the first Tradewinds, blue blank) 10wt this year, and I absolutely love it. It is a lot of rod, but it handles very large patterns well and has the balls to turn/lift big fish and truly punch through wind. I will reemphasize that it is quite a bit more powerful than any other "10wt" I've handled , although it still throws AFTMA standard 10wt 280gr/30' very well---you can just upline a fair bit to make short shots a bit easier and throwing chunkier flies. Wind was no issue with 425gr floating OB and a 510gr OB was the ticket for 12+" Beast fleyes and the like. For smaller flies, it is easier to generate high line speed and pointed loops with lighter lines than any other rod I've used so far. As RedGreen said, we found out my rod was a fair bit more powerful than a standard 10wt when we measured its IP at 364g and AA of 66°. If my sources are correct, Esa has measured the now-discontinued TFO TiCrX 12wt, sort of a benchmark for fast & powerful rods, to have an IP of 308g and AA of 72°. This means that the Colton UD 10wt is about 18% more powerful than the TiCrX 12wt and a fair bit slower in action, but by no means does it feel "slow". The quotes Red is referring to regarding the rod as "the fastest saltwater fly rod" are not the company's words, but other customers' descriptions that I was quoting. The Colton website describes its action as "Extra-fast," which it does feel like if you don't know the rods' actual measurements. When casting, it feels as if the bottom half of the rod doesn't budge... which it doesn't, really, and that can fool one into thinking that. That's an intentional part of the design, if I understand Bob correctly, because he uses this rod specifically when he wants to be able to lift heavy/dogging fish from the butt of the rod. Two of my friends have been enjoying their Tradewinds XS 9wt/Terrapin 789 setups this year. The XS 9wt bends much deeper into the blank when casting lines in the 280-320gr range, but still recovers very quickly and casts short and long distances very easily. It's a fun and relatively "easy" rod to cast. I have not had a chance to measure the IP/AA of the 9 XS, but I might put that on my agenda for this weekend and get back to you on that. If I had to guess, I'd guesstimate the ERN of the 9 XS to be around 9.75-10.25. Based on what I've learned from casting and fishing the 9 XS & 10 UD, my guess is that the 9 UD, 10 UD, or 10 XS would suit your needs well, with a slight advantage to the 10 XS. The best way to determine the rod for you, short of testing out the rods in person, would be to contact Bob as Oakman and Red have already suggested. The fit and finish of the rods appeals to me and has good promise in terms of long-term durability. The snake guides are durable and none of the guides, despite having spent four months between the salt and a rod tube, are showing corrosion. The cork is firm and fillings are holding strong. The reel does not wobble in the seat, and the large fighting butt was comfortable when lifting double digit albies out from under the boat. Despite the high-modulus graphite blank, it has survived many hard smacks from clousers and lead-head flies as a result of my casting ineptitude. For the money, I would rather have no other rod. It doesn't have the finish of a T&T or quite the feel of rods four to five times its price, but for all intents and purposes, it fulfills it purpose as well as I could hope for, and then some. Can't really go wrong with that. Dan
  7. The 72nd waking hour is not a good time to hit the rocks at night unless you desperately need a custom travel rod.
  8. Seabass may blitz on the same baitballs as albies/follow their schools. The most likely cause of the phenomenon you described is that you hooked the albie first, and while fighting the albie, the sea bass went for the trailing fly. While dogging at the end of the line, the albie would not be moving too fast for a sea bass to catch up and take the bottom fly. Albies are built for speed... sea bass, not so much. Albies have clocked in a swimming speeds in excess of 40 mph... if the albie had put the pedal to the metal, there'd probably just be a pair of lips left on the bottom fly.
  9. Albie Snax are borderline cheating. They catch numbers like no other lure I know of, and they also get the attention of large fish, too. I've taken many, many 28"-38" fish on them in conditions of all manner and have had Snax mouthed by fish that were no less than 55" about 20' away in 4 feet of water. They are fantastic day and night, weightless or weighted with a keeled hook or jighead, slow-twitched or straight reeled or even deadsticked. They're versatile, durable, downright effective, and they cast like cruise missiles compared to just about any other soft plastic on the market. About as good as lures get for sight-fishing, too, save soft plastic crustacean imitations in certain situations. My favorite place to fish them, though, is in the whitewater, just where you found them to be deadly. Great in blitzes for the ease in unhooking fish, especially if you fish them barbless. No need to switch lures when hopping from stripers to sea bass to albies this time of year. White is my favorite all-round color, although the old clear amber, both old and new pinks, and the new Michael Jackson color can be more effective for whatever set of reasons in a given situation.
  10. Nate, I typically use a 1-3 matchsticks' thickness worth, depending on the size of the gurgler, of the coarsest, most buoyant bucktail from the base of the tail. I tie this in in the style of a flatwing platform---splayed out horizontally. Then, I'll tie in a fair amount of marabou on top to about the same length as the bucktail, ~2-3". The platform almost entirely eliminates the issue of fouling, while the marabou gives the fly bulk and flow at rest and breathing quality when stripped/popped. Super easy, quick, rather durable, and as easy to cast as it gets. I can bang out up to 15 an hour and each will last at least a few dozen fish with the extra thick upholstery foam bodies I use. I'll play around with zonker strips and extra long marble fox at the vice tonight. My gut tells me movement will be fantastic, but the zonker strips will probably outlast the foam head by a great margin (which can be replaced, if the fly has enough mojo to deserve it), while the fox hair might foul more often than the marabou, even with a platform. Zonkers for large ones and fox for small gurglers sounds like a good bet, but I won't know until I try. Dan
  11. Hey Chris, Hope Sunday treated you guys well! And I hope Geoff got that jacket back to you... I have absolutely no idea how he tracked us down, first go. Probably same way he sniffs out the only two keepers on two consecutive casts. I left you a proprietary blank as we were leaving as I was having some trouble accurately measuring IP/AA. Thought maybe you'd have better luck. I thought you'd like the feel of it, too. Right up your alley. Back to TH rods. About insert guide weight: I measured the weight of the full Mark II guide train that Mike prepped for me. Full Ti frames/Torzite inserts. The entire weight of 10 guides plus the tip is 6.82 g. Just the tip and 3 or 4 running guides (I didn't note exactly how many there were on the tip section) weigh 1.34-1.58g. I have not measured the REC guides you use, but I'd be surprised if the weight difference were more than 20%. At that point it is, as Mike puts it, the square root of nothing. The thread and finish in the epoxy must weigh more than the running guides, further negating weight differences. The tip section of the Mark II blank alone weighs 14g on my scale. Then throw in the fly line, acting especially on the tip of the rod, which typically ranges 500-800gr (32.4-51.8 g), along with the fly, saturated with salt water, and even the salt water on the surface of the fly line! I don't know how much additional inertia and drag those ceramic inserts impart on the blank, but again---square root of zip. Yep, the Pandion feels great to cast. Zero effort is a good way to put it. However, it's not that much slower to cast than your Pac Bay. I have reviewed some footage and found that Mike roll pickup-backcast-shoot style of casting takes me 5 seconds to perform. To place an anchor and make a Spey cast with the same line, around 2.5 seconds. I'm measuring from the start of the first stroke until the fly is delivered to the target. There is no way you're making the routine roll cast pickup to backcast to shoot in under 2.5 seconds, and it's probably not much faster than 5 seconds. I would hazard a guess of around 4 seconds. That's just the way it is---the time the rod takes to load and unload is very short compared to the time it takes the line to unroll before the next stroke can begin. Out front in big wind, I would definitely prefer Mike's rod. Ergo, I'm building one this winter. However, the Pandion retains castability in stronger winds than I'd previously thought. I wasn't casting directly into the wind (30-45° off dead-on into it) and I wasn't casting very far (~60-75') in the 15-20 mph winds we encountered out front the first weekend, but it was easier than using my single hander and surprisingly capable of delivering the fly and snapping the line tight to the reel consistently. Looking over to my right to see what Mike was doing, I was surprised he wasn't significantly out-casting (he easily could have) me or appear to have a much easier time setting the anchor for his roll casts or delivery stroke. I would have preferred his rod by a mile for the command it had over the line, but in that case, I held my own just fine with the Pandion. The rest of the weekend went similarly well with 10-25 mph winds from every angle. In short: if I had only one of Mike's rods, I would have been able to fish more effectively, easily, and probably had no less fun while doing it. However, I was not entirely out of the game with the Pandion. Have to play devil's advocate sometimes. It is a well-backed argument, though: The Pandion strikes me as a very efficient rod given its price and weight. It's rather heavy and fairly cheap, but because of the way it bends with my 650gr floater, I can use a wide casting arc and still achieve very narrow pointed loops. In fishing scenarios, it is still not so terribly bogged down that its recovery rate from a loaded state with a fairly narrow casting arc can still get the line moving properly quickly, and the crisper stop with minimal bounce upon delivery creates the most efficient wedge-shaped loops with ease. Because it is not very powerful, a stiff headwind will create enough drag on the blank, line, and fly that recovery speed is decreased enough to make casting rather inefficient. If we greatly increase the power of the rod, we do a few things. The rod will bend less when the wind creates drag on the rod, guides, and line. This is good as recovery rate improves in a significant head wind. However, the rod will also load less against the inertia of the line with the same weight. This is a problem as it means we will not be able to take full advantage of a fully loaded blank to accelerate the line as it rapidly unloads---this is what makes a rod like the Pandion so terribly efficient with 650gr. We must exert more effort to load the rod more and get the line moving faster. This also creates the problem that 99.9% of fly casters cannot achieve narrow loops with a wide cast arc (which takes full advantage of rod load to increase line speed; also the most efficient & smoothest way to load a rod & increase line speed) with a rod that does not bend that much; a rod with low line weight:IP ratio. As a result, the caster must use a narrower, less efficient stroke to achieve the narrow loops that make efficient casting possible with a rod that doesn't do too much to accelerate the line on its own. You could argue that the more powerful of two blanks built with the same weight and material, when deflected the same number of degrees, will unload faster, but this tends to be negated by the weight of rod components, lines, and increased weight as power in the blank increases (the power:blank weight ratio can only increase so much with the same material). There are two possible solutions, then: The first is to have a superhumanly fast casting stroke that loads a fairly powerful rod to an incredible degree with a relatively light line, say, having a line weight:IP ratio of 0.5-1. This would increase line speed as a result of increased stroke speed, increase load which, coupled with increased unloading rate with the relatively light line, get the line truly screaming out. The increase of bend in the rod with such an impossible fast stroke could also allow the caster to make the most of a very, very wide casting arc and retain straight line path to create very tight, pointed loops. The other solution is to build an incredibly powerful, yet light, rod and match it with an even more incredibly heavy line. I'm talking in the realm of a rod that doesn't weigh much more than our current rods but with a measured IP over 2000g and a line in the 4000gr range. This would fully load the rod to make the most use of the rod unloading to increase line speed. If the rod additionally had a power:weight ratio many times that of our current rods, it would unloaded very quickly. A rod this powerful wouldn't be affected that much by the 20-30 mph winds we contest with, so whether we line it to have a line weight:IP ratio of 1:1 or 2:1, the wind wouldn't cause it to fold over, much less significantly decrease the unloading/recovery rate. Not to mention that, as Esa says, heavier lines are much, much more efficient to cast, both in wind and in calm conditions. There are, of course, problems in both of these cases. Neither your nor I nor anybody alive can load a rather powerful rod with an line weight:IP ratio 0.5-1 the way it can be loaded with a ratio closer to 2:1. Maybe Bruce Lee could have done it. In the other example, we do not have the technology to build such a powerful yet light rod that would not load significantly load under its own weight. If we did, it would have already been done. Also, what mere mortal is going to fish with a 4000gr line? Much less, what kind of line would that have to be? Anchor chain? These are extreme examples, but they make the point that the problem can be theoretically solved by decreasing the rod power:line weight ratio or increasing line weight. Due to these real limitations, we cannot solely improve performance by making powerful rods or heavy lines. There must be a compromise. The best compromise I have felt thus far are Mike's rods. They are powerful enough that their unloading rate is not too seriously affected by strong headwinds, but not so powerful that they do not load to a fair degree when casting fairly heavy lines (500-750gr). However, they do no load so deeply that narrow loops are easily achievable with wide casting arcs, and nor do they feel to load so fully that the unloading of the rod accelerates the line the way the Pandion does, meaning that more effort and speed is applied on the part of the caster to create the same line speeds. When I build Mike's blank, I will test it with a range of line, from as light to as heavy as I have. I will test it in calm conditions and on the windiest days I can find. I have a feeling I will prefer it with a slightly higher line weight:IP ratio than Mike does, but its performance would be better to suit my stroke than the way Mike lines his rods to match his stroke. The solution I think, still, is to create a more powerful rod and use and even heavier line to load that very powerful rod deeply, but how much that kind of rod would weigh is the deciding factor. Whether I would be able to fish that kind of rod all day is also in the air. Therefore, I truly believe Mike has struck a great balance in rod and line for his purposes, but not the best that is theoretically possible. When I say theoretically, it is based on my observations from my experience in having used rods that cast well in headwinds and manage the line easily or rods that easily generate high line speeds and efficient loops. All the properties that give rods these abilities are currently found in no rod that I know of or can currently be created, and no human I know of would be able to take advantage of these properties. My $0.02 in trying to make the most all-round performance by combining everything I've heard from Mike and Esa. Take it with a grain of salt. You should be able to find some in your waders. Note: I intentionally ignored rod and line taper length in this argument, as these factors greatly influence performance both in calm and rough conditions in their own right, and I do not believe I have any near enough experience or understanding about how variation in these factors affects performance. I would believe, in brief, that increasing rod length affects performance for a number of reasons until blank weight negates their affects and the rod becomes uncastable by most fly fisherman, and that a longer line taper prevents dumping in both calm and wind but becomes more difficult to carry, straighten, and shoot. And then there's line taper, which I also do not have enough experience with to speak about. Hi Mike, I had an amazing time. It blew any expectations I had out of the water, even for general the lack fish. I'm still working on transcribing everything you taught me on paper, and I'll have a few more questions I've come up with after you're home, if you wouldn't mind. I wish we could still be on the Cape---the atmosphere of the group and trip in general had me feeling more free than I've ever felt before. Give our best to Geoff, and like Gavin said, tell him we would be looking forward to meeting up with him any time he comes back across the pond. Same to Dougie if he's still with you. Looking forward to continue the Brit & American team next year in the spring. Best of luck with the rest of your trip! Regards, Dan P.S. I still have the video clip of your impromptu jetty descent, but I'll wait to publish it until you start a thread of a write-up of your trip, if you're planning to do that. It doesn't seem fair to do so here. Even in your most sleep-deprived states, you are a true prophet. But please, get some sleep, and not with a cup of tea in your hand this time. AKA IP of Gavin's breakfast? Again?!
  12. Peter, Back in April, I was in awe of both the shots you've shared with us and the lengths to which I can only imagine you've gone to deliver us a film of this caliber. It was truly inspirational to me, both as a (fly) angler and aspiring short film producer. Thanks to SIFF18, I explored new places and ways to heighten the experience, namely in the game of sight-fishing. As a result, I've gained insight I'd otherwise have remained oblivious to and witnessed spectacular sights and events that I couldn't have ever imagined unfolding in front of me. Plus, I've captured the footage to relive the moment, which I hope to refine and share when the right time comes. I needed that boost of inspiration---thank you for making it public again. I now have an even deeper appreciation of your work, now that I've gained some understanding of your experiences through my own. Sincerely, Dan
  13. I've seen more tog up here than I thought possible. Found a spot this year where I can sightfish cunner to record size (trying to get one submitted at the moment) and tautog to 8-10 pounds in 2-6 feet of water during the spring and summer. If I get tired of that, I can push up a hundred feet and fish a flat that can, at times, be plastered with stripers from schoolie to cow size. It's really cool to watch giant cunner and tog behavior, though, in that kind of shallow water. You have to have a watchful eye, as sometimes they will sit under large pieces of kelp, just their mouths or fins sticking out. Other days they'll move around the area in groups or guard what look like nests in pairs. I've seen a lot of peanuts lately with last year's micros, having grown a little chunkier, on them. Should be a fun fall on fly even if the larger fish don't move through near shore, although with the current bait abundance, I have a hard time imagining that not occurring.
  14. My best to date actually occurred just yesterday evening, actually. My friend invited me for an offshore trip for tunoids, although I had my own agenda of taking on a large shark on light spinning tackle (what most would consider light for largemouth) or on fly. We arrived to our grounds well before dawn and had our first encounters mid-morning. A decent shark went for the balloon closest to the boat and I made a few fly presentations to him before another rod went of. The shark I'd been casting to then went off and took another one of the baits. The double hookup was fun and both put up great fights for their size. After a few hours of good groundfish action, another two sharks came in quick succession, but neither took the bait on the light spinning setup. Then came long period without any action from the pelagics, although good company and action on truly ultralight tackle (specially designed, maybe half a pencil in diameter at the butt but they can take a lot of drag) kept up the fun. After the third slack tide, my friend gave the OK to dump almost 10 gallons of sun-baked bunker awfulness that probably shouldn't have been disturbed. We gave it our all as it was soon time to pack it in. Surprisingly, not a single shark came through the slick. However, as we were hauling up the anchor after stowing all the rods, we spotted a shark cruising on the surface and picking off the floating bunker, one by one. I grabbed a live mack and pitched it to him on one of the light rods. He turned towards it but doubled back and kicked off. We stalked him for another 50 yards and I made a second cast, landing almost on his head. He turned, munched, and I tightened down with everything my reel would give. The rod bent up to 90 degrees before the first guide as the drag was locked. He made a few runs and dogged hard, but I gave him no quarter and had all 8 feet him boatside in about 10 minutes, even after loosening the drag in case of another run. He'd spit up a few bunker and had some fresh battle scars, but was still a beautiful animal to be able to see and handle up close. Probably had more than a few pounds on me. A few quick photos and he was on his way to finish off the rest of those bunker. I've been hoping to get the opportunity to truly put one of these rods through its paces for a few years now, and I think it was a worthy test of tackle that looks more fitting to be used in the neighborhood pond. I'm still hoping for a shot this year at an especially angry 10+ footer on the same rod or on fly, which I think would just be awesome.
  15. Had as good a run of peanuts as I've ever seen (granted, I haven't been in the game more than a few years) last fall on the North Shore of MA in my area that brought hickory shad and schoolie blitzes to the beaches every day through October. 50-100 micros each morning/evening was the norm, but I never saw anything that even looked like it broke 20". It's been disappointing in that regard.